Litchis: they would kill hundreds of children each year in India

Scientists finally found why in Muzaffarpur a city in India, hundreds of children die each year for no apparent reason between May and July. A study published in the scientific journal The Lancet says that a molecule present in lychees is the cause of these many deaths.

Every year at that time, children were taken to the convulsive hospital. Some even fell into a coma, according to the New York Times. And 40% of young patients died. According to the testimony of the families, the symptoms always appeared suddenly. Since 1995, researchers have explored several tracks: heat stroke, infections carried by rats, water or bats, pesticides.

This fruit contains a molecule that, associated with malnutrition and hypoglycemia, would plunge some children into coma …

Deaths halved in two years

Specialists from the Indian National Center for Disease Control and the Indian office in central Atlanta, USA, now think they have identified the person in charge.

It would be the molecule of methylene cyclopropyl-glycine contained in lychee, a fruit widely grown in this part of the country.

All the patients had consumed them while they were in hypoglycemia and under-nutrition. In this poor region, many children do not have enough to eat.

In 2015, local health authorities asked parents to make sure their children eat a meal in the evening, and to limit their consumption of lychees. In two seasons, the dead passed from several hundred to fifty, barely.

Specifically, methylene cyclopropyl-glycine, a chemical contained in litchi, plunged children, already in hypoglycemia and undernutrition, into convulsions and fatal comas. By ensuring a better diet for children, the phenomenon could be stopped permanently. But the fight against extreme poverty remains a major issue in this region, which lives mainly from agriculture.

» Medical » Litchis: they would kill hundreds of children each year in India